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Lovely Day

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"Lovely Day"
side-B label by Columbia Records
Side B of the late-1970s US reissue
Single by Bill Withers
from the album Menagerie
B-side"It Ain't Because of Me Baby"
ReleasedDecember 21, 1977
  • 3:46 (single version)
  • 4:15 (album version)
Bill Withers singles chronology
"Close to Me"
"Lovely Day"
"Lovely Night for Dancing"
Official audio
"Lovely Day" on YouTube

"Lovely Day" is a song by American soul and R&B singer Bill Withers. Written by Withers and Skip Scarborough, it was released on December 21, 1977, and appears on Withers's sixth album, Menagerie (1977). Withers holds a sustained note towards the end which, at 18 seconds, is one of the longest ever recorded on an American pop song. The song was listed at No. 402 on Rolling Stone's "Top 500 Best Songs of All Time" in 2021.[1]


Released as a single in late 1977, "Lovely Day" peaked at number 6 on the Billboard R&B chart and at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1978.[2] Outside of the United States, "Lovely Day" peaked within the top ten of the charts in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart.[3]

"Lovely Day" has been re-released as a single in the United Kingdom at least twice since the song's first chart run; in 1987 the original version charted again at number 92 on the UK Singles Chart, while a remix done by Ben Liebrand, named the "Sunshine Mix", peaked within the top 10 in 1988, peaking at number four on the UK Singles Chart.[3] This remix resulted in renewed enthusiasm for the Withers original, which incurred a surge in airplay into the early 1990s and came to firmly overshadow the radio presence of Liebrand's version. Public interest was again piqued in 1995, when "Lovely Day" was used in adverts for Tetley tea, again in 1999 for a Gap commercial directed by Hype Williams, and yet again in 2020 in ads for Good Morning Football on NFL Network, Allstate insurance TV commercial, as well as an ad for Pandora Jewelers. On January 20, 2021, the song was performed by Demi Lovato, with backing vocals from Lin-Manuel Miranda and several frontline healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as a part of the entertainment broadcast entitled Celebrating America following the inauguration of President Joe Biden.[4][5]

Producer Clarence McDonald also arranged the original 1977 version of the song and played keyboards. Guitars were played by Ray Parker Jr., Jerry Knight played bass, and Russ Kunkel played drums.

Toward the end of the song Withers holds a note for 18 seconds, the longest of any Top 40 hit in the United States.[6]




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[15] Platinum 70,000
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[16] Gold 45,000
Italy (FIMI)[17]
sales since 2009
Gold 35,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] 2× Platinum 1,200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. version[edit]

"It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day"
Single by The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M.
from the album The Bodyguard (soundtrack)
  • Robert Clivillés
  • David Cole
  • Ricky Crespo
Music video
"It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day" on YouTube

The song was covered by American R&B and dance music group The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. featuring Michelle Visage, and was included on the soundtrack to the 1992 film The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. This mostly rap version was titled "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day". It reached number 34 on the US Billboard Hot 100[2] and number 44 on the Billboard R&B chart, in addition to spending three weeks atop the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in December 1992 and January 1993.[19] The song also reached number 17 on the UK Singles Chart[20] and number two on the European Dance Radio Chart.

Critical reception[edit]

J.D. Considine from The Baltimore Sun remarked the "funk revisionism" of "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day".[21] In his weekly UK chart commentary, James Masterton wrote, "It's not the first time in recent years that the Bill Withers classic has had a chart outing, a remixed version having made the Top 10 in September 1988. The new version, however, is as far removed from this as can be and may just have enough novelty value not to be detracted by the cries of sacrilege from the purists."[22] Parry Gettelman from Orlando Sentinel viewed it as "a throwaway dance track".[23]

Charles Aaron for Spin said, "Clivilles & Cole's effortlessly escapist, double 12-inch extravaganza of house gimmicks is worth its price on packaging alone (the jacket could inspire a master's thesis). "Movin' the Crowd Club Mix" reintroduces Seduction's Michelle Visage, who boasts a breathy, offhand rhyme style, as if she's kickin' it in a fitting room at Bloomingdale's. The sample codes are less than fresh — Deee-Lite's "What Is Love?", Soul II Soul's "Get a Life", and a horn blast from Sly's "You Can Make It If You Try" — but together, they construct quite a club ethos."[24]

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced to promote the single and was later made available by VEVO on YouTube in 2014. It had generated more than 2.3 million views as of early 2024.[25]


Chart performance for "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day" by the S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M.
Chart (1992–1993) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[26] 90
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[27] 58
Europe (European Dance Radio)[28] 2
Europe (European Hit Radio)[29] 25
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40 Tipparade) 5
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[30] 62
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[31] 25
UK Singles (OCC)[32] 17
UK Club Chart (Music Week)[33] 1
US Billboard Hot 100 34
US Hot Dance Club Play (Billboard) 1
US Cash Box Top 100[34] 31

Other covers[edit]

"Lovely Day" has been covered and sampled numerous times since Withers' original recording. Among the most notable is one by British pop group Central Line, appearing on their 1983 album Choice; this version reached number 81 on the UK Singles Chart.[35] In 2010 LL Cool J samples the song in his single "LLovely Day".[36] UK band Alt-J covered the song on their 2014 album This Is All Yours as a bonus track.[37]

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

  • 2010: The song is featured in the film 127 Hours during the scene where James Franco (as Aron Ralston) on the second day of his horrific ordeal, makes a pulley to (unsuccessfully) release the rock trapping his arm. This song also features in the soundtrack of the movie.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. September 15, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  3. ^ a b "Bill Withers - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  4. ^ Willis, Jackie (January 20, 2021). "Demi Lovato Belts Out Uplifting Performance of 'Lovely Day' on 'Celebrating America' TV Special". ET. CBS Studios Inc. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  5. ^ LYNCH, JOE. "Demi Lovato & Healthcare Workers Sing 'Lovely Day' at 'Celebrating America'". billboard. Billboard Media, LLC. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  6. ^ "Lean On Me singer Bill Withers dies at 81". BBC News Online. April 3, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d "Songs from the Year 1978". Tsort.info. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  8. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. July 17, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  9. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 2/11/78". February 10, 2015.
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Lovely Day". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  11. ^ a b "lovely+day | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  12. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. July 17, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  13. ^ "Top 100 1978 - UK Music Charts". Uk-charts.top-source.info. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  14. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1991). "Top 100 Singles: 1988". BPI YearBook 1989/90. London, England: British Phonographic Industry. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-0-9061-5410-6.
  15. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2020 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "Danish single certifications – Bill Withers – Lovely Day". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  17. ^ "Italian single certifications – Bill Withers – Lovely Day" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved June 28, 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Lovely Day" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  18. ^ "British single certifications – Bill Withers – Lovely Day". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  19. ^ "Dance Songs: Top Dance Music Chart". Billboard. December 26, 1992. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  20. ^ "Soul System - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  21. ^ Considine, J.D. (1992). "Soundtrack – The Bodyguard". The Baltimore Sun – via St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (December 4, 1992).
  22. ^ Masterton, James (January 10, 1993). "Week Ending January 16th 1993". Chart Watch UK. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  23. ^ Gettelman, Parry (December 4, 1992). "The Bodyguard Soundtrack". Orlando Sentinel.
  24. ^ Aaron, Charles. "Singles". Spin. March 1993.
  25. ^ "S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. - It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day". YouTube. February 21, 2014. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  26. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 260.
  27. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 7. February 13, 1993. p. 19. Retrieved March 24, 2024.
  28. ^ "European Dance Radio" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 8. February 20, 1993. p. 20. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  29. ^ "EHR Top 40" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 7. February 13, 1993. p. 22. Retrieved April 6, 2024.
  30. ^ "The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. – It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  31. ^ "The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. – It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  33. ^ "RM Club Chart Number Ones Of 93" (PDF). Music Week, in Record Mirror (Dance Update Supplemental insert). December 25, 1993. p. 3. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Pop Singles" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. LVI, no. 20. January 30, 1993. p. 4. Retrieved April 20, 2024.
  35. ^ "Central Line - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  36. ^ "New Music: LL Cool J "LLovely Day"". Rap Radar. 2 July 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  37. ^ "alt-J's 'Lovely Day' - Discover the Original Song". WhoSampled. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  38. ^ Grimm, Becca (October 29, 2010). "Sigur Rós, Bill Withers, Many More Featured on 127 Hours Soundtrack". Paste Magazine.

External links[edit]